Neighborhood Trip


I don’t know for sure that my neighborhood is typical, but I think it is. When I moved in, I gave hand towels to the houses closest to mine. It is typical that the person moving in should provide gifts to their new neighbors. If you move into an apartment building you are also supposed to give something to the people upstairs and downstairs. Mainly I think the gift is a way to give something as advanced compensation for the trouble you will cause them.

Normal gifts are laundry soap, dish soap, tissues, … things you know someone will need around the house. Sometimes food items are good: vegetable oil or other regularly used consumables fit the bill.

We also have community dues of about 400 yen a month. I’m not sure exactly what that pays for, but I pay without asking questions. Usually the person responsible will ask for the money when delivering our city newsletter.

My biggest difficulty is the neighborhood circulars. A folder is filled with “important” notices and sent from house to house. This is called kairanban (回覧板). We have to read everything, stamp and date a chart, and go to the next house to drop it off. Well, needless to say, these announcements have to be written in polite language, so I take a long time to figure out what is on each memo. I think the community leaders are a little annoyed when I sit on the circular for awhile.

When the last one came through there was a notice about our three choices for a neighborhood trip, including a reminder to fill out a survey with our favorite. I didn’t see any surveys and asked the next neighbor about it. She also had no idea what was up. Today, by chance, I went out to check something in the yard and got into a conversation with a couple neighbors. One of them was going around to check up on why nobody had turned in surveys. I found out the survey had been stuck inside the city newsletter. I dug mine out and voted.

Here are the three choices:

  • 神戸中華街
  • 名古屋イタリア村
  • 木曽路そば打ち体験

When the results come in, I’ll tell you more about the winner.


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